There are fewer tourists from western countries arriving in Bangladesh whereas there lots of foreign delicate stay here. So what plan do you take to attract the tourist?
Md. Sharif Mollah: Before coming to the key point, we need to know the real meaning of tourism and hotel & service-related matters.‘HOTEL’ is the word where ‘H’ stands for‘Hospitality & Honesty’, ‘O’ for‘Obedience’, ‘T’ for trust’, ‘E’ for efficiency’ and ‘L’ for loyalty’.Hotel is a building like other organizations and a set of properties. And a particular building will be Hotel only when the appointed people of the building have remained with the above-mentioned characteristics among themselves. Because following these characteristics and obeying the organization he/she will do their job. In the matter of ‘SERVICE’, when we take interviews, we watch over the behavior of the interviewee, whether he/she can keep a ‘Smile’ on the face or not. Because it works like magic in this profession. ‘Environment’ is another important stuff. The place is ordained immaculately or not, cleanliness and beautification of the place, the place makes people feel gleeful or not – these things are really very important. Then comes ‘R’ which stands for ‘Reaching the guests immediately’. ‘V’ for attending ‘Visually’ always. ‘I’ for being ‘Intelligent’ enough. ‘E’ for ‘Efficiency’ of course. So without these things, you can’t meet the demand.
There is some reason behind tourists’ less attraction for Bangladesh. To raise the name of Bangladesh globally, enough activities haven’t been taken yet. Lack of publicity is also the reason. We haven’t yet brought up the sacred beauty of Bangladesh properly in front of the whole world. We have to improvise that side to attract the tourist. Govt. must take projects for the development of the sector. And some matters are also there which must be encouraged enough and given proper opportunities to develop by private sectors. To attract tourists, hotels must be built up with appropriate plans. There are no amusement parks or a suitable environment in sea-beaches for the relaxation of the foreigners here. So depending on overall thinking, to make global PR we have to take governmental actions. We have to hire international PR Agencies to uphold Bangladesh in front of the entire world. Thus tourists will be attracted more.
What is the positive effect of Tourism Business in our country’s economy?
Md. Sharif Mollah: Infrastructure, communication & transportation system, safety &security, standard comfortable accommodation, hygienically preparation of food & beverage, etc. facts must be cultivated properly. Guests must be known about different tourism places and gotten apposite opportunities to travel to those places. Economic Development & ecotourism and Skilled manpower development with a positive mindset have to be made. There are two types of tourists- international and domestic. Through international tourists, the percentage of economic development is very negligible. Rather than last few years, our domestic tourists are helping to make it grow more. They travel these places a lot during weekends, festivals and vacations. Thus we get input from these domestic tourists. And in the case of foreign tourists, they aren’t actually tourists. They came here for their working purpose and projects. We can’t earn from them and are getting financially affected. They are taking payments in dollars from here to their countries. So we have to bring revenue from foreign countries which is the backbone of our nation.
Do you have any plans to attract foreign companies to hold their conferences in Hotel Lakeshore? Are there any lacking facilities that you consider as the barrier of attracting them?
Md. Sharif Mollah: Of course we have attracted foreign companies to hold their conferences in our hotel. Lakeshore is basically a boutique concept hotel we don’t count any stars. Because we are not affiliated with any foreign chain. It is totally 100% locally managed by local owner property. But are trying to maintain a 5-start standard in servicing and product quality. That’s why we have got popular enough in the market. Branding of Lakeshore has been also befallen already both locally and internationally. A trip adviser organizer in Spain speaks good words about Lakeshore on their website. We don’t compete with the subordinate level. We compete with international brands. We want the competition. Because without it, we can’t develop ourselves.
Is there any business competitor of Lakeshore in Bangladesh and how does your brand remain as an outstanding one?
Md. Sharif Mollah: Westin, Radisson Blu, Le Méridien, Platinum Suites, Pan Pacific Sonargaon are some of our major competitors. We have 60 high-graded rooms. All boarders are a foreigner here. Several organizations’ CEO and MD come and love to stay in our hotel because of its marvelous environment. It is a very homely atmosphere here. This hotel has the highest standard food, quality and the service standard is very high-level maintaining.
From when are you involved with this International Luxury hotel brand? Please let us know the history behind achieving today’s position.
Md. Sharif Mollah: I am involved with this hotel from its beginning. It was inaugurated by my hand. I am very proud of that. We are Exceed 13 years now. According to this, of course, we achieved a good position today. We made a good market. We are enlisted as an important hotel beside the mentioned above hotels.
Why are Bangladeshi hotel brands remaining unable to achieve international fame? What lacking are do you think there to reach the international level?
Md. Sharif Mollah: To reach internationally, we have to make international publicity. We have to make PR more. Without it, in this 21st century, nothing can possibly happen. People around the world will be able to know about Bangladesh properly through PR. There are many popular tourist spots and things that are upholding Bangladesh and its natural beauties like Cox’s Bazar, Kuakata Sea-beaches, Sundarbans Mangrove Forest, Rangamati Hilltracs, Bandarban, Tea Gardens in Sylhet, Jaflong, Mohasthan Gar, several Historical Places, Liberation Monuments, Royal Bengal Tiger and Chitral Deers, different religious events, Art & Culture etc. Lakeshore is a mentor hotel. Many people have learned here and then joined the international chain.
Are there any corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities of Lakeshore and its impact on social reforming?
Md. Sharif Mollah: Every year we donate clothes and food to the poor people. We help them financially and give others assistance when natural calamities happen.
Hotel Intercontinental has come back again in Bangladesh, how do you evaluate their returning?
Md. Sharif Mollah: Of course I’m welcoming them. It is a very old renowned hotel since the Pakistan regime. It fell down due to many political and union reasons. They had no quality service. Actually after the renovation when they will reopen the hotel, we will be able to make any idea of what the upcoming condition of the hotel will be. But as an international chain, of course, they have a clientele group. As they are known internationally, they will get positive support through this. And as I said before, service is the key point. Without standard service and heart-touching, hospitality will be losing concern.
Do you have any plans to launch Lakeshore internationally?
Md. Sharif Mollah: Yes, of course, we have such a plan. But what we are trying is to make a domestic local chain first. we have Lakeshore’s ‘Maza Property’ in Gulshan, its sister concern ‘Lakeshore Banani’ in road-13 of Banani, Green Goose Guest House in road-38 of Gulshan-2 and a14 storied building named Grand Bengal which is being constructed on the western side of RAK Tower Jasim Uddin Road in sector-3 of Uttara. Thus we are moving forward gradually. After covering the Dhaka market, later we will go to make a market outside of Dhaka city also.